Written by Mona Pearl

Entrepreneurship: The Born Global

Picture this:  A Swiss owned company looking to market an innovative technology product into the US, a market that was identified with the biggest potential and appeal for these products.  The R&D took place in Israel, using high-tech components from South Korea.  The management team was based on three continents.  What is different about this scenario?  This is a start-up and not a mature company that is looking to grow globally.  This is a story about a start-up that was born global.

As trade borders become seamless and the world becomes more dependent on technology, entrepreneurship is a major driving force for growth in an increasingly competitive global market.  As a result, more start-ups are being born with a global orientation.  Technology, coupled with ease and convenience of communicating across borders and time zones, accelerate and encourages visionaries from different parts of the world to team-up and collaborate with others; take advantage of global opportunities and be more in-tune with customer demands.  This all results in the creation of new products or services that transcend borders.

Rise and shine visionaries and entrepreneurs.  This is where future opportunities lie.  What do you need to have in place to be global from day one and beat the traditional corporation structure to the punch?

Global Entrepreneurship

Recently, we are seeing businesses which function globally from the moment they start their operations. These companies are born with a global vision and serve global markets and can be called as “Born Global Companies”.

The global technology advances and international business competition have given rise to a new entity, the born global company, a company that adopts a global perspective and engages in international business from or near its inception.  Many of these companies become international competitors in a very short time-frame, using their nimble structure and global networks.

Unlike traditional companies which start their operations locally and expand slowly into global markets, becoming multinational later and then becoming global, born global companies establish a global operation from the very start. Their mission statement, corporate vision, business strategy, organization structure and business operation are all geared towards globalization.

The emergence of born global companies is fairly new and is not limited to any country. The first of the born global companies are from developing nations or from nations with small local market. Today this phenomenon appears to be fairly widespread, but very limited in US entrepreneurial circles. Irrespective of the country of their origin, these born global companies share certain common traits.

Written by Mona Pearl

Social Media: Friend or Foe?

Social media is a great tool to create the first contact, but it takes the “personal touch” to establish a relationship, especially across borders and cultures. When people communicate virtually, it opens up the door to many errors, misunderstandings and misconceptions.

Social media doesn’t replace the personal relationships that occur when you meet face-to-face and where trust is established. Yes, it is a great thing and may save you from buying a ticket across the oceans to simply identify a person. However, the long term and long-lasting relationships you need to succeed when going global are B2B and F2F: back to basics and face-to-face.

Make or break factors in global business development and sales.  A company contemplating a new product for a new market may seek answers to the following questions:

  • Who are the potential customers (demographics, income, marital status, employment, age, etc.)?
  • What are their needs and motivations for purchase?
  • Who makes the purchasing decision? Is loyalty to national brands an issue?
  • What features and options do they expect?
  • What quality is expected?
  • How much are customers willing to pay?
  • Will customers want several versions with different features in different price ranges?
  • How will potential consumers learn about the product?
  • How often will they purchase it and when?
Written by Mona Pearl

Aligning Corporate Strategy & Global Competitiveness

It’s easy for today’s corporate leaders to become transfixed by the demands of short- term operations and lose sight of important happenings outside the walls of their business, outside the walls of their industry, and outside the walls of the United States. When this happens, however, tremendous opportunities can pass right by unnoticed.

Planning for the future in today’s high-speed environment requires everyone to develop a predictive awareness and super-sensing capability of what is coming next. This means monitoring global trends and developing business foresight with an eye toward a long-term strategic view. New opportunities will come to those companies that see the future first and become future-ready by anticipating, adapting, and evolving ahead of the competition.

Globalization: old story, new challenges

From Wall Street to Main Street, the impact of worldwide markets is enormous. At the dawn of the twenty-first century, can we say full heartedly that the United States is the most competitive economy in the world? International competition is intensifying across the globe and we must continue to adapt and innovate to maintain our leadership position.

Increasing worldwide competition calls on us to respond more rapidly, innovate faster, and add more value. This is not only what is expected by American consumers but by the growing customer base overseas for goods and services provided by American companies and workers. How we respond to these challenges and opportunities brought on by an interconnected worldwide economy today will shape the prosperity of Americans for generations to come. Meeting this challenge requires creativity and commitment.

U.S. corporations have to make a conscious choice to compete globally. Over the last three decades the world has shifted from a collection of regional or national economies, to a truly global economy as a result of technology, trade agreements, lower tariffs, better transportation, and communication. The future lies in international commerce in both goods and services. So we need to start focusing on how to do it, how to collaborate with other countries, and how to actually make things happen.  This requires corporations to change the ways they operate and transform into a globally minded organization.

Written by Mona Pearl

A world filled with constant change: what are the major trends?

No crystal ball needed, simply a panoramic lens, an awareness and openness and of course, the ability to understand and interpret events in context with an eye into the future.  In order to plan your growth and benefit from cross-border opportunities, you may need to take into consideration the following trends affecting the world economy:

  • Cheap. Good. It used to be that you had to choose two out of the three features. You can have it all!
  • Social Media. It is happening every day and every minute as we witness revolutionary and diverse online action.  The virtual gathering of crowds and armies will form before our eyes and draw us into their mission.
  • Technology in the driver’s seat. In addition to social media that aims to connect beyond borders and beyond imagination, the technology of smart phones makes it possible.  This is the tool that broke the rules and set new standards for technology developments, human interaction, how, where, and when we do business, socialize, decide on vacation venues, and so much more to come.
  • China following in Japan’s footsteps. Some of us may remember when Japan used to “borrow” innovations and replicate them into a cheaper version.  But China may take it one step further and improve on innovation to fi t their local market and other niche markets, as well as add features and create new products.
  • Internet and beyond. It is becoming about real-time, instant, and constant.  People want to know more, almost in an obsessive way, about what is going on in other parts of the country and the world.
  • Managing complexity. More than ever, the top skill that everyone will need is managing complexity in a global economy and a global marketplace.  The complexity of dealing with immense and rapid changes, the economic crisis, the job market, global competition, and new technologies will require a high level of complexity management.
  • The megacity consumer. From China and India to Latin America and the EU, there is a new consumer demographic that is emerging and being driven by massive urban migration.
Written by Mona Pearl

Entrepreneurial Global Positioning

You cannot afford not to think global, especially if you are in the technology field.  It isn’t enough to have great technology.  You need to be able to understand, adapt, and create the right solutions for your markets.  Identify your customers across borders which require a deep global business and cultural understanding, and all from day one.

Seeing opportunities in the global marketplace requires the right perspective. Acting on those opportunities requires the right skills and entrepreneurial instincts. Both of these, perspective and skill, take time plus experience to develop and mature. Most important, they require intentional learning and curiosity to explore. Learning should be a deliberate response to every experience, every environment, and every opportunity. Then, through daily business activities, develop a global lens that transcends culture, borders, and mind-sets.

Opening up your eyes to see the bigger picture of the global marketplace is one of the most important steps one can take to help their businesses succeed. Unfortunately, it is also one of the easiest and most devastating actions they can fail to take. For those who spent their whole life looking at the world through a keyhole, throwing the door wide open can be overwhelming. There’s so much to take in that it is easy to miss opportunities that could be right in front of your nose.

Written by Mona Pearl

Global Entrepreneurship: Positioned for Success

Born global start-up companies are greatly positioned for successful global growth, and here are the top reasons why:

  1. In a global context, start-ups have nothing to lose but the whole world to gain. They are nimble, their founders are risk-takers, adventurous, and can usually be under the radar while competing globally on a scale that provides them with a competitive edge.
  1. They are more flexible, innovative and able to change and adapt much faster than the large multinationals. That is a combination of size, layers of management as well as corporate culture that are entrepreneurial and forward thinking, as opposed to risk adverse characteristics of large corporations.
  1. The leadership in smaller companies is more entrepreneurial, intimately involved and in-tune with the daily operations and by having fewer layers to go through, can adapt, move and act much faster. Born global companies tend to have innovative cultures and knowledge-based organizational capabilities.  In many cases, the core team that started this venture is still around, and there is more of a tight and personal corporate culture that plays very well in other countries around the globe.
  1. Top management/founders, have global work experience & have had established an extensive and reliable network with other companies abroad. This network allows them to offer services or become a supplier of OEM parts to other global giants.
  1. Flexible & learning organization. Global start-ups are flexible on their operations i.e., they are willing to do a variety of tasks and services in order to survive in business. Organization encourages learning from all its engagements.
  1. Multiple skill sets. Cross-industry, cross-functional, more comfortable with change, adaptation and constant learning.  Employees have multiple skill sets which helps organization to be flexible and fast moving. Unlike large organizations, Global startups are do not have a large specialized departments in middle or upper management areas. Any specialization will be limited to technical/Engineering areas only.

Catching the Wave of Global Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs around the world have much more in common than executives or any other business leaders/operators.  Born global companies have developed a unique corporate culture which can be best described as a “Global Culture” and a set of skills and attributes that play very well in international business:

  • A ‘let’s get it done’, and ‘hands on’ approach
  • Openness, sensitivity and awareness to other national cultures
  • Cross-industry skills that translate in the ability of filling-in and working in a plethora of functions
  • Comfortable with uncertainty, and actually thriving under these conditions
  • Open minded and possess the eagerness and desire to learn, improve and grow while working as a team to achieve a common goal
  • Commitment to the project requirements while the work day is driven by accomplishing goals and not by traditional work hours
  • A strong sense of need for success (not just the fear of failure)
  • Knowledge of multiple foreign languages
  • The tendency to choose and craft a strategy based on their core competencies. The driver is growing the core business to the target market.  A born-global firm is a venture launched to exploit a global niche from the first day of its operations, and caters to a globally diverse niche from day one.  The strategic plan outlines the global launch activities, while the group may run it from the home country, or even have a collaborative management team across borders.
  • The ability and skillfulness to raise capital from around the world, utilizing their global networks
  • Distance isn’t a factor they build their staff with the best employees from all over the world.
Written by Mona Pearl

Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship: The Future

Based on the current information available, innovation and entrepreneurship will continue to expand in the future across borders, because of the existence of the following six circumstances:

  1. Global market conditions. Trade barriers are easing. Economies are interdependent. Communication via the Internet has never been easier or more accessible. These conditions drive political reform, cultural transparency, social progress, and a great deal of wealth creation.
  1. Entrepreneurial mind-set. Entrepreneurs have the ability to see, understand, and take advantage of evolving markets. The entrepreneur’s ability to think differently, use insights, see what others don’t, envision what doesn’t yet exist, and identify opportunity when it’s ripe—these are the prized qualities of today’s entrepreneur, and when adding the ability to do all that across borders, cultures, and technologies, we are clearly witnessing a new exciting, challenging, and demanding era. Wayne Gretzky of national hockey fame helped state it succinctly when he said, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it’s been.”
  1. Eroding confidence in established institutions. The recent world economic meltdown is removing any last confidence that most people had in governments, large enterprise banks, and other financial entities. The resulting mistrust will lead to reinventing ourselves as individuals, communities, countries, and societies. As such, many more entrepreneurs will be joining the field.
  1. Shifting business environment. Large- scale firms are synonymous with bureaucracy, which tends to stifle innovation. In response, the business environment is shifting to accommodate the needs of its rapidly changing market players. Innovation and entrepreneurship are beginning to flourish around the world and will likely take the form of much smaller, yet bolder companies. Knowing and catering to this is how entrepreneurial ventures beat corporate giants to the punch. Any company, large or small, that continues down the same path it has always taken will find it to be a losing proposition.
  1. Entrepreneurial collaboration. Also, on a global scale, there will be more entrepreneurial collaboration, which in turn will make shared innovation between countries a far more common occurrence at the company to company level—not just at universities and research institutions. One of China’s approaches for creating an innovative nation is the Technology Business Incubator (TBI).  China’s mission is to nurture “technopreneurs” and technologybased startups. Business incubation is considered a viable option for countries that want to expand economic opportunities.
  1. Growth of environmental and sustainable engineering technologies. A growing consciousness about the value of protecting our world will fuel the demand for products and services that can accomplish this goal.
Written by Mona Pearl

Rules of engagement for success

Smart, collaborative, forward-looking competitive strategies are the key to success. We live in a knowledge-based global economy where skills are the critical ingredient for success. Instead of focusing on one’s insecurities, the task should be to work on a strategic competitive plan for your company and not incremental fixes to immediate small problems.

We know that every major country in the world is getting in the game, is trying to compete harder, and is trying to create an environment for innovation—we are no longer the only game in town. Whereas just about twenty years ago we were trying to convince the world to adopt free enterprise and attract foreign capital and get into trade, I don’t think we have to do any more convincing. People have gotten the message and they have caught on to it pretty fast and well.

Success or failure depends on a company following a three-level process:

It is basically planning (i.e. having in place the infrastructure to meet the world, talent, and execution). Or we can say it in the following terms: where, who, and what are we going to do when we get there?

We focus on companies not having to deal with that uncertainty and/or fear, and help them identify the right markets and their ideal customers, equip the team with the skills and tools necessary, and coach them on how to succeed in their venture. They need to know how to manage the complexities, contradictions, and conflicts associated with going global.

Some of the skills the leadership in every company need to adopt include functioning in a world of high-speed change in which skills of letting go are as important as skills in taking charge, more ambiguity, dealing in an environment that may not always be clear, and having all the components necessary to make a decision. All this has to go hand-in-hand without neglecting the local business environment, corporate, and the specific country or countries in which they need to operate.

Written by Mona Pearl

A Trailblazer Facilitating Sustainable Growth of Companies in A Global Environment

Coined by clients as the “The Task Force”, Mona Pearl helps companies with entrepreneurial mindsets – build-fix and grow- companies that face complex challenges across borders. She charts & coordinates programs and actions that help them become competitive and sustainable internationally.

Mona speaks 6 languages, has lived on 3 continents and has been involved in over 20 start-ups as well as the expansion of many established companies. She has served as COO/CMO for three companies and helped build and scale ventures in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East, while establishing an international network of contacts which helps ease the path in many overseas operations. She has served as an international advisor to many of the world’s leading companies and governments on global strategy, transformation and innovation. She has worked across many different industries ranging from manufacturing and technology to homeland security, hospitality and transportation.

Mona is a true believer in education and broadening the horizons and she makes it a point to mentor the young generation and share from her experiences either through teaching at the university level globally, or through private sessions. Throughout her life, she has fostered a love for intellectual curiosity and ongoing learning. With each new experience on her journey, whether good or bad, positive or negative, she adds another dimension to her understanding of people, cultures and how to best penetrate the global marketplace.

Mona uses these experiences and knowledge to impart insight and wisdom for the benefit of her clients, her students and her work. She cites an example when she started a technology manufacturing business. Mona says she learnt how to negotiate across borders to deliver the best possible product for markets in both North America and Asia. She maximized the value of a global supply chain by sourcing abroad and working collaboratively with other business people from around the world. Ultimately, the product was developed in Germany (German top engineering), designed by Italians (Italian top design and style), and made in the USA (American quality). She also learned the importance of protecting products and intellectual property in the global arena the hard way when her high tech product was reverse engineered.

For the full interview: http://www.asiabiztoday.com/article/2016/05/09/facilitating-sustainable-growth-companies-global-environment#sthash.Io7qvsiI.Uz4dbVvG.dpbs



Written by Mona Pearl

Doing Business: What Has Changed?

It is a new daunting reality to many businesses around the world, where the playground presents more challenges, unfamiliar to companies and their leadership. Most major players don’t have the capability to respond in a swift and flexible manner, and therefore the issues become more complex, tough to navigate and the bottom line outcome: loss of market share, money and talent.   They don’t have the flexibility needed to navigate today’s realm and the problems associated, and these are not integrated in their plans which are outdated.

The old planning models won’t suffice and the deficiency in performance is proof. What is needed: flexibility, speed, unconventional thinking, swift decision-making, a deep understanding of the reality in the field and the ability to “move the troops” in an organized and tactical manner for better results and go for the win.

Managing across and beyond borders, in fast moving markets requires a laser­like focus on execution and operational excellence.   There is nothing permanent except change. We indeed live in an era of acceptance of the fact that constant transformation is part of our lives. The global playground has changed and so did the players, the rules and even the name of the game. What is different?

  • The size and numbers of companies entering the global market
  • Where these companies originate from
  • The ways these companies perform and succeed
  • Technology in the driver’s seat
  • The changing role and path of innovation
  • The need to navigate so many variables, analyze, deep dive and understand the meaning of new concepts, not only the numbers. This requires rethinking approaches, investigating benefits and building a strong foundation that is flexible, modular and easy to navigate.

With all these major changes around us, one critical component hasn’t been touched: that is the strategic planning process itself. Companies still meet once a year for a retreat, board meeting or other settings, to decide what needs to be done and how to do it. The plans are written down, delegated, but are not actively exercised. Since the origin of strategy comes from the art of war, please note that the generals are usually in the field, and all wars fought through digital screens only, failed. Why? The people who plan aren’t close to the scene and to the developments, to be able to sense the cause and effect in the field.

Data doesn’t lie, but can mislead. There is a need for greater sophistication and interpretation of what lies underneath that data to be used, and when mining customer insights. There is a wealth of data out there. Information only isn’t power anymore. Many companies don’t understand what the information they gather/mine actually means in terms of market potential and specifically for their company. What really matters is the analysis on multinational and multi­cultural levels. That talent set is incredibly rare. A simple quant jock will not suffice anymore. For companies to steer safely through the murky terrain of today’s global playground, we have developed a process to get started and redefine the traditional strategy steps. What needs to change in your business approach to successfully manage your global operations? How will you redefine your global strategic planning? How will you change the altitude and increase your chances for success? 

*How to align with the changing reality? What to look at? Penetrating, developing and operating in international markets require an entrepreneurial philosophy and drive — the same kind of philosophy and drive behind every successful startup business. Following that logic, America — the birthplace of the modern entrepreneurial spirit — should perform well in the global business environment. Also, with its multi­cultural diversity, theoretically it should improve its chances for global success. Plan, commit and act. Know to ask the right questions, do the due diligence and get the right data, and understand that there are many ways of doing business. Corporate America needs to learn and adapt. This means that the role model and skill set of the c­suite need to reach that altitude as well. The focus on corporate culture of not to fail instead of succeed, will not work anymore. The new frontier is that there is no frontier — businesses responding to this reality may have a significant impact on the economy as a whole. Savvy entrepreneurs will likely see opportunity where others see impasse. Knowledge in Action

Like mountain climbing, companies need to confront the greatest dangers with the greatest prudence. What is above knows what is below, what is below does not know what is above. While climbing, take note of all the difficulties along your path. During the descent, you will no longer see them, but you will know that they are there if you have observed carefully. You cannot always stay on the summits. You have to come down again, and as it applies to global strategy, success in one market is only the beginning of work in a different market.

French author, René Daumal, said:  “Shoes are not like feet — we are not born with them. Therefore we can choose them. Let yourself be guided in this choice first by experienced people, then by your own experience.” Get the help of experts and thought leaders that can lead you to the peak, make sure you have the right gear, training and preparedness to enjoy the new altitude. Companies must develop highly flexible business models that enable them to respond to new opportunities and threats. A new process for strategic planning, to include new tools and an elevated approach will be necessary for success in the global arena. It also takes time to acclimate, and again, people need different timeframes. So, when we apply this logic to the business world, companies need to prepare for this new altitude; Make sure the company has the necessary resources to make it, practice and train while being nimble and flexible.

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